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« May Day Workers and Immigrant Rights Rally! When Black Homeowners Fought Back »

Immigration Sun May 02 2010

Scenes from May Day 2010 in Chicago

The international workers holiday May Day used to be celebrated pretty much everywhere in the world except the U.S--an irony, given that the day commemorates the Haymarket Massacre that took place here in Chicago in 1886. In 2006, the immigrant rights movement resurrected the holiday in its country of origin, and thousands flood the streets in cities and small towns across the country every May 1.

Yesterday's marches come at a time when the national immigration debate is heating up. Arizona's recent harsh anti-immigration bill SB 1070 propelled larger crowds than usual into the streets around the country on Saturday. In Chicago, the bill has led to a protest at Wrigley Field urging a boycott of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the state of Arizona as a whole; at a civil disobedience for immigration reform at a detention center in Broadview, activists chanted "Illinois is not Arizona!" as they were arrested. Yesterday, Chicago Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Congress's strongest proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, was arrested with 34 others in Washington, D.C., at another civil disobedience in front of the White House.

At today's march, SB 1070 was mentioned frequently, as some of the photos below show.

Estimates for the march's size vary widely--the Trib used the police's estimate of 8,000. Many present put the number estimated at least double that number.

Members of the Mexican Electricians union were present at Chicago's march. I have written about them (twice) for In These Times.

Many of the day's harshest words were reserved for President Obama, as protesters berated him for leaving his promise for immigration reform unfulfilled.

In case you weren't sure how activists felt about Arizona's new immigration law.

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AreYouHighOrWhat / May 2, 2010 2:22 PM

Thousands marched but millions stayed home, MILLIONS! You don't have America's support, we don't reward criminals!

You insult all Americans when you come here illegally and then protest to demand legal rights from our government. Those protest signs are hsterical! If you're here illegally you don't have a vote, so threatening to not vote for Obama is a ridiculous threat!

As Sue Sylvester would say "sloppy freakshow babies! somewhere in the English countryside in a stately manor home Madonna is dozens of celebrities, politicians, and d-list wannabes do permanent damage to their credibility with the American public"

Gay Urban Hipsters In Seattle Permanently Boycotting Anyone Aiding The Busload Of Harper Valley PTA Agitators Trying Oppress Arizona

TheSquire / May 2, 2010 2:42 PM

I'm not sure if the comment above is serious or offered in jest, so I'll be brief: just because the law supposedly targets illegals, that's not the group that'll be most affected. Arizona has passed a law that will essentially drive anyone with brown skin out of the state regardless of their immigration or legal status, as law enforcement is now specifically required to repeatedly harass anyone who doesn't look like a WASP. Many/most of those people DO have the legal right to vote as American citizens. They and I would appreciate it if you thought before setting your ignorant fingers to the keyboard.

LegalCitizen / May 2, 2010 7:39 PM

False, Thesquire. You should follow your own advice of thinking what your saying before typing. Arizona is only enforcing the laws that the Federal govt. has in place but refuse to enforce.

Illegal means not legal, and if you are an illegal alien you are illegal here, and should be punished. Simple as that. Too many people have already died because of illegal alien gangsters. Too much vandalism has already occurred by illegal supporters.

It won't drive out anyone with brown skin, unless they are illegal. It's one of those things where not all browns are illegal, but all illegals are brown. If the legal citizens don't want these kinds of things, then help us find the illegals and send them out of the country.

Even if the police suspect someone of being ilegal, they can only be questioned of their status if they were already caught breaking some other law.

If you're legal, present papers (most common form is valid state licence or ID, or passport/greencard) and be on your merry way as far as status goes. If your'e illegal, that just adds another penalty to you.

I'm glad Arizona is applying the law at the state level and doing something about the mess. I hope the other states will get their sh- in gear and do the same.

B. / May 2, 2010 9:01 PM

Before attacking people's legal status how's about we come to an understanding of why it's happening in the first place. NAFTA cripples the domestic agriculture of Mexico, millions lose their farms and livelihood, and rather than go to work in Maquiladores they come here. The same happened in much of Central America, as well. Doesn't sound like we should blame them. Sounds like we should blame the people who caused their strife in the first place.

As long as we allow capital to flow across borders, but not people, we aren't free. The only purpose borders serve is to protect the property of the elites of one country vs. the elite of another. Once people start owning mass amounts of land in both (i.e. the American companies who bought all the agricultural land in Mexico) then the border becomes obsolete. We're as much being locked in the US as locked out of Mexico, and the opposite. The elites need labor and want it cheap. The longer we fight other victims of their greed, the more we get screwed.

In the end, all I have to say is either fight multinational exploitation or shut the hell up. Immigrants are not the enemy, politicians and corporate elites are- get it straight.

Gratefulmargin / May 2, 2010 10:24 PM

Great pictures! I was there too.

How sad that some commentators are so full of anxiety and hatred. What is all this stuff about "illegal" and "legal"? Let's talk about all the illegal things our government has done before we get all hung up on punishing people who are just desperate to make a living.

I say let's apply NAFTA and CAFTA to the workers too -- let them cross the borders as easily as capital does.

k.s.paarthasaarathy / May 3, 2010 12:05 AM

US has a resource base which can sustain three times the present number of people. It needs people to develop. World needs US. There is no way this nation of Immigrants talks against immigration.
In the overloaded city bus services in east, popel who could not get in in peak hours shout at the insiders in the bus to move and make space and once the guy gets in he shouts at those still pressing from ourside to get in! Europe will die of cold if they dont get immigrants to do their menial servies..

PleaseDontLie / May 3, 2010 12:12 AM

>>It's one of those things where not all browns are illegal, but all illegals are brown

Hey amigo. That's just not true. Setting aside, that we cannot be sure of the color of someone's skin based strictly on country of origin. For example, Mexico may lead the pack in undocumented immigration, but you should probably note that 1/6 of Mexican citizens (~18.5 million) are of European descent and tend to be white.

Anyway, even if we assumed all Latin American immigrants were brown, it is still a bit silly to say that "all" undocumented people are brown. The data seems to indicate that there are 1.5 million undocumented Asian folks (not brown) and around 600,000 undocumented European and Canadian folks in the USA.


M. Garcia / May 3, 2010 1:40 PM

Funny, there are many, many times more people who attend the Tea Party rallies across the country with no evidence of violence and arrests like what's seen at these May Day protests; however, the major media outlets ignore the violence, arrests and property damage at these May Day hooligans create, but the media focus like a laser beam on Tea Parties like they're "criminals". "Criminals" who pay their taxes, grand parents, neighbors and obey the law.

May Day protests turned ugly all over the globe, and right here in America as these fools/anarchists always seem to hide behind the term "revolution" to justify their collective damage to private and public property and promote fear and intimidation in the process. Google Santa Cruz protests, Athens and Berlin riots, etc.

If the May Day (or for that matter Global Warming, G8, union protests, etc) handled themselves half as well as Tea Party rally participants do, they'd get more accomplished. But these people don't want real results, they only want to cause a scene and cause damage . . .and live off the tax dollars of others.

Contrapositive Police / May 5, 2010 11:09 AM

LegalCitizen, with quite an astute understanding of syllogistic reasoning, offered, "It's one of those things where not all browns are illegal, but all illegals are brown."

This obviously evinces a decadent shortsightedness and is a humorous slight to the droves of undocumented persons in Chicago originating from locales other than Mexico and Central/South America. The very absurdity of LegalCitizen's understanding of documentation is precisely why SB1070 is destined to be destroyed in court. It's applicability is understood by LegalCitizen and his similarly sorry set to seek out "brown people."
Any law that does that, intentionally or otherwise, is discriminatory. Further, the laws of search and seizure do not permit police inderdiction based upon a reasonable suspicion of brownness. Whether AZ has the right to enforce federal law is a thornier matter, but the matter need not necessarily be reached by the court because of how outlandishly unconstitutional the act is on the grounds mentioned. Thankfully judges (unlike LegalCitizen's expressed paucity) will have actual experience with the law of citizenship and a familiarity with the the privileges and immunities clause and the 4th and 14th amendments. Those cloaked in black aren't allowed to permit laws to assume that "all illegals are brown."
Also, presence in the U.S. with a lack of documents, while unlawful, is not a crime and "punishment" is not in order. Anyone found in the jurisdiction of the U.S. (unless the executive specifically designates that individual as a "threat to national security" and classifies them as an "unlawful combatant" or some other incongruent label) receives the protections of U.S. law, regardless of documentation.
While the self-serving arguments of the ownership/libretarian set do not provide the moral and economic backbone for so doing, it makes sense to offer a workable plan to naturalize undocumented workers in this country. To vilify a group of people who have worked in this country and made it their home simply makes no sense beyond the vibrations of the amygdala. Mass deportations and mass illegal crossings are the alternative. Those concerned about the crimes committed by undocumented persons should first look at the statistics and be chagrined and then should be comfited that our criminal justice system ferrets out and prosecutes crime no matter the documented status of the perpetrator...the plainest evidence of equality under the law.

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